You know those stories about disgruntled wives chopping up their husbands' Saville Row suits and leaving them scattered on the lawn? While I haven't done that - yet - I must confess I've had fantasies of chopping up some of his vast collection of vile ties. Especially the wide ones. I actually love his Saville Row suits. (I remember, before we were married, helping my future husband choose his first Saville Row suits: Huntsmen, made bespoke for him at Barney's, NY. One, a tweed in pale shades of the forest, with the tiniest hint of blue sky woven through.. but I digress).
The thing - the four things, actually - that I've most longed to remove from our lives in recent months are his two pair of very old Sperry Topsiders.
They're so old, in fact, that when I dug up these photos of a particularly fabulous sailing trip to St. Barts with our friends the Kissanes - which was nearly seven years ago now - I'm pretty sure he already had the deck shoes. And I've spent most of the winter - during which time he's been wearing said shoes - trying to cajole him into, you know, perhaps replacing them with something bright and shiny and new.
Something like the Fred Perry 'Kent', in Havana brown:
But whenever I tried dragging him into shops to find a replacement for the deck shoes, he was always finding fault with them. And then I showed him the Fred Perry options, and it was love at first sight. The brand's been around for 50 years now, and people like Ewan McGregor are fans (see HERITAGE), and I feel about them the way I used to feel about J Crew, which I feel has very much lost its way. I could weep on the few occasions when I look at the J Crew site: their print catalogues used to be so cool, they set the bar for telling a kind of editorial story, and now.. you couldn't even identify any item of clothing as belonging to the brand.
But Fred Perry.. they've got that classic American prep with a twist thing down in spades. With irony. Like these canvas shoes - the 'Byron' - a kind of desert boot in blue canvas, with a little 'collar' at the heel that's like a Polo neck.. and have you seen the Amy Winehouse collection? It's all in aid of the Amy Winehouse foundation, wonderfully 50s, Miami, beehives and eyeliner, and - as different as my style is to hers - I could see wearing it. Ballet pink, black.. anyway, I digress.
My point is, this story has a happy ending. Yes, Reader: he's wearing them. Two pair of new Fred Perrys. The Kent, above, and the Cole, below. (He wanted the Goldhawk, in the same ginger suede, but they were instantly sold out). And I didn't even have to throw out his old shoes!
They say the eyes are the window of the soul, and I believe Them. But I also feel our feet are the soles of our souls, and if you want to know a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
I don't want to chop up my husband's beloved bespoke Huntsmen suits and throw them on the lawn, and I don't want to toss out his Topsiders. But thank you, Fred, because now they have some very lovely younger brothers. And his closet is one big happy footwear family. The only problem, now, is, he wants more. Jumpers and polo shirts and things. I might have to toss out his suits after all, to make space in his closet.
Holiday snaps by me, in and around St. Barts. Apart from photo of me, by my lovely friend Maryann Kissane. (That's Jim and Maryann's son Ben, in the top shot. He and my husband spent that summer quoting from Pirates of the Carribean: 'Take all you want! Give nothing back!' Happy memories on this cold wet wintry London day in May.)